Here Comes That Heat Wave

It’s late July.  It’s been really hot out all month.  Almost every day over ninety degrees, many close to a hundred.  I’ve been watering the lawn most every day, and trimming and edging continues unabated.  We went to the beach last Friday.  It was a good time, despite warnings about sharks attacking swimmers, and the ocean being unusually rough.  It took alot of effort just to get past the breakers and swim for even a few minutes.  Luckily no one got eaten.

In other news, Lizzy got a raise and promotion at her job, and went out and bought a new car, a VW SUV.  She got pretty lucky and found the exact model she wanted, available and at a reasonable price.  So I bought back from her her old car, a Toyota Camry that she drove thru high school and college, and that I’d given her as a graduation present.  Now Michelle has a car to take to school.

I’ve been trying to schedule another gig for my band, but everyone is going to be out on vacation a different week in August, so it’ll have to slide into September.

I’ve been working on music in the studio.  I have two songs, Slope and My Ol’ Brokedown Truck, that are close to finished.  I recorded real drums for them last night, since I can’t re-create the sound of brushes with midi and samples. Sounding real good.

77 from the 70’s

We finally had a weekend at home after all that travel.  The weather is hot and sunny.  Back to yardwork, backyard barbecues and making fires in the fire pit.  Running the sprinkler most every day. Last Sunday Jeannie and I did a long bike ride on the South County Trailway, from Yonkers up to Ardsley and back. Very nice, wooded, flat and smooth.

Around this time last year I created a playlist of 80 Favorite Songs from the 80’s to enjoy while hanging out in the yard.  Last weekend two of my neighbors were playing competing classic rock playlists, which inspired me to create a playlist of 77 Favorite Songs from the 70’s. It turned out the be pretty interesting.  It’s organized more or less chronologically, which helps to see how trends come and go, and some juxtapositions of different things around the same time.  I limited it to one song per artist, and since it was the era of long songs, I excluded full-album-side multi-song suites, or parts thereof.  

The early part is dominated by album rock, including early prog, with lots to 7- or even 10-minutes songs.  The middle part is thinner, and a bit of a transitional period, with a pretty deep foray into jazz fusion.  Toward the end there’s a lot going on again, as funk and disco emerge, as well as new wave and a variety of other styles.  Even though this playlist has fewer songs than my 80’s one, its about an hour and a half longer.  Anyway, here it is.  Enjoy!

1. Woodstock – Crosby Stills Nash and Young (1970)
2. Wah-Wah – George Harrison
3. American Pie – Don McClean
4. War Pigs – Black Sabbath
5. Child In Time – Deep Purple
6. Take a Pebble – Emerson Lake and Palmer
7. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down – Mile Davis
8. Fire and Rain – Blood Sweat and Tears
9. Box of Rain – The Grateful Dead
10. I’m Your Captain / Closer to Home – Grand Funk Railroad
11. Layla – Derek and the Dominos

12. Superstar – The Carpenters (1971)
13. L.A. Woman – The Doors
14. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys – Traffic
15. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking? – The Rolling Stones
16. When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin
17. Heart of the Sunrise – Yes
18. Wind-Up – Jethro Tull

19. Watcher of the Skies – Genesis (1972)
20. A Hit by Varèse – Chicago
21. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
22. Summer Breeze – Seals and Croft
23. Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

24. Undun – The Guess Who (1973)
25. Jessica – The Allman Brothers Band
26. Rosalita – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
27. The Great Gig in the Sky – Pink Floyd
28. The Real Me – The Who
29. What is Hip? – Tower of Power
30. Watermelon Man – The Head Hunters
31. Spain – Return to Forever
32. Birds of Fire – Mahavishnu Orchestra
33. Frankenstein – Edgar Winter
34. Right Place Wrong Time – Dr. John

35. Back Home Again – John Denver (1974)
36. Crime of the Century – Supertramp
37. Apostrophe (‘) – Frank Zappa
38. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt 1. – King Crimson
39. Whatever Gets You Through the Night – John Lennon

40. Band on the Run – Paul McCartney (1975)
41. I’m In Love With My Car – Queen
42. Never Been Any Reason – Head East
43. By-Tor and the Snow Dog – Rush
44. Some Skunk Funk – The Brecker Bros.

45. Give Up the Funk – Parliament (1976)
46. The Boys are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy
47. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
48. Peace of Mind – Boston
49. Carry On Wayward Son – Kansas
50. Song Within a Song – Camel
51. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot
52. Miami 2017 – Billy Joel
53. Magic Man – Heart
54. Dancing Queen – ABBA

55. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – AC/DC (1977)
56. Threshold / Jet Airliner – Steve Miller Band
57. Aja – Steely Dan
58. Contusion – Stevie Wonder
59. Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
60. Slip Slidin’ Away – Paul Simon
61. Watching the Detectives – Elvis Costello
62. Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
63. Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meat Loaf
64. You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac
65. Feels So Good – Chuck Mangione

66. Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste of Honey (1978)
67. Shadow Dancing – Andy Gibb
68. Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? – Rod Stewart
69. Mister Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
70. Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh
71. In the Dead of Night – U.K.
72. Runnin’ with the Devil – Van Halen
73. Walking on the Moon – The Police

74. Can You Picture That? – Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (1979)
75. The Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band
76. Funkytown – Lipps, Inc.
77. Rapper’s Delight – Sugar Hill Gang

Pour Me a Fourth

Just got back from an excellent trip upstate for the fourth of July.  Just wonderful to see family and friends, and feel like life is getting closer to back to normal.  We drove up on Saturday the second, and it was a beautiful day for a drive.  Listened to Kamasi Washington, plus a few of my own records on the trip.  The first evening we hung out with Larry and Jackie at their house.  Lizzy and Larry’s daughter Caroline joined us.  Somehow between us we polished off a whole bottle of whiskey.  Larry was the drummer in my first band in high school, one of the best drummers I know.  Back in the day we were very into prog rock, bands like Rush and Genesis.  The song YYZ happened to come up on a playlist, and Larry knew it was in 5/4 time and the title of the song refers to the airport code for Pearson airport in Toronto.  I blew his mind when I showed him the rhythm of the song comes from Y-Y-Z in morse code:  – . – –   – . – –   – – . .

We stayed with parents and Sunday morning we just sort of hung around and talked.  Jeannie and I went for a walk down to the park and the lake.  After lunch I went rollerblading around their neighborhood.  The streets are much flatter and smoother than around here, and with less traffic.  Mid afternoon my brother Martin arrived.  His kids are all getting bigger, so Jeannie and were off to a hotel the next couple days.  That evening we went out to dinner with Lizzy at Canalside, which is down at the waterfront where the naval museum used to be (and still is).  They’ve expanded it with some restaurants, shops, museums about the Erie Canal, and a waterfront walk.  Very nice.  Lizzy recently got a big promotion at work, so we were celebrating that.  We went to a seafood restaurant right on the waterfront, very nice.  Afterwards we went back to her apartment and played Trivial Pursuit.  Jeannie won, probably because there were so many baseball questions, despite Lizzy and I teaming up against her at the end.

Our hotel had a pool and a hot tub, so we started the morning of the fourth enjoying that.  We had the place to ourselves, so I swam a bunch of laps, something I haven’t done in years.  Then it was on to Wegman’s for beer and ice and party supplies.  We spent most of the day on my parent’s back porch chillin’ and grillin’.  Dogs, burgers and steak!  Lizzy made a pasta salad.  Classic rock on the radio, which I don’t always listen to, but still love.  At one point Martin got out his rollerblades and his kids all had scooters, so we rolled around the neighborhood together.  Later we played Azul, a Eurogame based around collecting tiles.  We have this game at home, but Martin and Kathleen play it a higher level than Jeannie and I, and kicked our butts.

In the evening we went out to the park and laid our blankets on the lawn to watch the fireworks show.  I hadn’t done this in a few years and it was pretty spectacular.  I think the must have saved up the fireworks from the last few years’ cancelled shows.  Afterwards Martin and I stayed up late into the night talking.

The right home was nice too.  More classic rock until we got tired of it.  We found a roadside barbecue place about halfway home, which was perfect for lunch.

Now it’s back to work and projects for a spell, but there’ll be more road trips and vacations later in the summer.